Dementia Prevention You Should Start Today with 9 Simple Habits
Jun 14, 2018 by apost team
With the statistical rate of dementia and Alzheimer’s at nearly 50 million people globally, it is no wonder that many of us are more conscious than ever of possible signs of these in ourselves and the people around us. And, as the instances of diagnosed dementia and Alzheimer’s goes up each year by nearly 8 million people, it has almost reached crisis proportions. The best way to properly assess any suspected systems is to become more knowledgeable about it as well as some ways you can work to prevent the onset of this crippling affliction.
What exactly is Dementia?
When most people refer to dementia, they oftentimes categorize it as a disease. In fact, it is not a disease, but rather a syndrome brought about as a result of brain diseases or brain injuries. This can include strokes, Alzheimer’s, traumatic injury, and some genetic brain disorders.
Dementia can precipitate in a few ways as a chronic problem or one that slowly progresses into full-blown Alzheimer’s and robs an individual completely of their cognitive abilities. Some signs to be aware of that may signal the onset of dementia are as follows:
- Regular bouts of disorientation
- Difficulty with memory
- Chaotic thought process
- Missing words
- Impaired judgment
- Inability to calculate
Although we all may experience these lapses in cognitive function from time to time, a serious issue with these symptoms is when they occur regularly and even chronically to any individual causing the person to need help in completing tasks.
Stages of Dementia
There are typically obvious and delineated stages of dementia that can be observed, diagnosed, and monitored.
- Stage 1 – This is when a person can’t remember things that are common to them such as familiar names or why they came into a room or went to the store.
- Stage 2 -- This will evolve into a more blatant lack of remembering of even the name of a spouse or child
- Stage 3 – It will then lead to a complete lack of cognitive awareness and then needing a wheelchair for mobility
Forms of Dementia
As the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s affects between 50-70% of people who have been diagnosed with dementia. But there are several other forms of dementia as well:
1. Vascular Dementia
As the second most common form of dementia, this type is usually brought about by the effects of a stroke when bleeding on the brain occurs. Symptomatically, it manifests in the following ways:
- Loss of memory
- Inability to organize
- Severe lack of motivation
- Poor judgment
2. Lewy Body Dementia
When dementia occurs in this way, it is brought about when there is a lack of normal proteins in the nerve cells of the body and lead to a severe impairment of cognitive functions. Symptomatically, a person who may be progressing with this if they are experiencing the following:
- Chronic sleeplessness
- Loss of memory
- Glazed over or lack of alertness
3. Frontotemporal Dementia
This is the rarest form of dementia, but it is still regularly put in the top four of the most commonly diagnosed types. This type occurs when there is a form of damage to the brain. There is not a pronounced lack of memory; instead, the symptoms of this type of dementia usually are observed in mood swings and extreme behavior changes in a person that includes the following:
- Obsessive or compulsive actions
- Extreme apathy
- Pronounced anxiety leading to panic attacks
- Inappropriate behavior in social environments
There are some very specific things that any person can do to help to prevent the onset of dementia:
1. Replenish Vitamin D
We take in this vitamin through nutrients known as secosteroids whose job it is to become hormonal components in the body and aid the intestines in consuming all the calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and phosphorous that vitamin D brings into the body when we consume foods rich with it.
The problem is that on average, 55% of people do not get the daily amount that is needed for optimal absorption and are severely lacking in this which needs to be approximately 600 IU per day for anyone under the age of 70. This goes up to 800 IU for seniors 70 years and up. There are even suggested intakes from other medical professionals of upwards of 1000 IU per day from The Vitamin D Council.
Getting outside and taking in vitamin D through UV rays is an alternative, but that takes a conscious change in lifestyle to accomplish. The safe alternative is taking a vitamin D supplemental pill or form of vitamin D every day as well as eating foods rich in vitamin D such as:
- Fish oils
2. Fatty Acids
These are “good fats” that promote healthy cognitive functions in both children and adults. The Omega-3 fatty acids are absorbed through the cell membranes to form a healthy network of communication between our brains and the rest of our system. The Omega 3 fatty acids are particularly helpful in the initial stages of dementia to deter the symptoms as well as help with prevention. Eating the following types of foods will assist with this:
- Salmon, herring, mackerel
- “Oily” nuts such as walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed
If you have an allergy to fish and fish oils, you can substitute Thorne Fish Oil or other vegetarian Omega-3 supplements found at your local store.
3. Green Vegetables
The old saying, “eat your greens” doesn’t seem so far-fetched now when you consider studies that have shown leafy, green vegetables contribute to the prevention of dementia in big ways.
Individuals who were part of research that who were given this type of food at least once a day over a period of several years were shown to have brain functionality on par with individuals who were nearly 12 years younger compared to people who never consumed green vegetables.
The abundance of vitamin K in these types of vegetables appear to contribute greatly to the development of healthy cognitive functions. Any of the following types of vegetables are considered in this category for daily eating:
- Brussel sprouts
- Collard greens
4. Restful Sleep
Not having a regularly-scheduled sleep time or sleep pattern wreaks havoc with brain function. Researchers studied the effects of a deficiency in the rapid-eye-movement (REM) pattern in people who did not practice the same daily sleep patterns and found that the proteins in the brain were lacking compared to someone who practiced a healthy sleep schedule. This may even mean removing those activities from your life that are contributing to sleeplessness which could be work commitments and living life at too fast of a pace for your brain to rest when it needs it.
5. Anti-Inflammation Measures
Without even realizing it, many people experience inflammation caused by a multitude of lifestyle choices including practicing poor eating habits and irregular schedules all leading to inflammation. This affects the brain in many ways including changing the actual structure over an extended period manifesting in dementia as well as other things such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. There are a variety of anti-inflammatory foods and supplements to prevent this from happening:
- Omega-3 rich foods and supplements
- Green vegetables
- Vitamin D rich foods and supplements
- Sesame and chia seeds
- Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
- Olive oil
6. Be Active
You can’t expect optimal results from a healthy diet if you don’t couple it with daily physical activity. These will work together to give you the full measure of prevention from the onset of dementia through an increase in the oxygen to your brain and the flow of blood in your system. It does not have to be an intense, daily workout. It can be a minimum of 30 minutes per day of walking or some form of cardiovascular exercise either through a class or personal training regimen.
7. Don’t be a Loner
Lack of human contact and regular communication with other human beings can lead to a severe deficiency in brain function. Like the muscles in our body, the brain needs exercise daily to remain healthy and resilient.
Many researchers attest to the benefits of verbal communication as an integral source for stimulating the nerve cells in the human brain to continue to develop and remain strong. This includes singular, daily activities like strategy games and completing crossword puzzles and word games that stimulate brain activity.
Every day, researchers and scientists are learning more and more about the human brain and how it functions. This includes what contributes to preventing things such as dementia and the diseases like Alzheimer’s that are directly related to it. Practicing these few things could aid in living a healthier life and promoting healthier brain function.
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Our content is created to the best of our knowledge, yet it is of general nature and cannot in any way substitute an individual consultation with your doctor. Your health is important to us!